Monday, November 29, 2010

Brother admits abuses
A former Catholic teaching brother from St Joseph's College in Masterton has gone on trial accused of sex offences against two former pupils nearly 40 years ago.

Bede Thomas Hampton, 62, is now an interior decorator, according to court documents.

He returned voluntarily from Queensland to face 26 charges at a trial that began in the High Court at Wellington yesterday.

The charges relate to incidents alleged to have happened in the 1970s. St Joseph's closed in the 1980s.

At the start of his trial, Hampton pleaded guilty to two charges of indecently assaulting one of the boys. His lawyer, Christopher Stevenson, said he also acknowledged an incident with the other boy but it would be for the jury to decide whether it had been a criminal act.

Hampton pleaded not guilty to 16 charges of indecency on a boy aged 12 to 16, and six charges of indecency on a boy over 16. He also pleaded not guilty to two charges of sodomy.

Mr Stevenson said Hampton went to the Marist brothers as a 14-year-old and left 15 years later, and it was in that setting that he developed socially.

Prosecutor Kate Feltham told the jury that one of the boys was grabbed by the throat, pushed up against a wall and threatened when he told Hampton he wanted to see the school nurse about his bleeding bottom.

The two complainants are now in their 50s. In recent years one, who now lives in Australia, spoke by phone to Hampton.

Hampton apologised and said he had a problem at that time which he did not understand.

In March 2006 Hampton phoned the other complainant and apologised.

Hampton said it had happened to him as a boy and he had a mixed-up childhood, Ms Feltham said.

Later that year a New Zealand detective interviewed Hampton in Australia.

Hampton told her that what happened in his past was a mistake and it had never happened after that time.

The first of the complainants to give evidence told the jury that, at the time, he thought there was no-one he could tell about the abuse. He thought he would get into trouble and he was ashamed.

The trial is expected to take about two weeks.

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